If GEICO is your insurer, or you are considering insuring with Geico, read on. They are inexpensive, but you may get what you pay for.
I unfortunately had a fender bender last week, requiring replacement of the front bumper. Only one body shop in my area is authorized by Tesla to do body repairs; naturally, that is who I want to use. Their estimate is $2500, with a labor rate of $65.
GEICO refuses to reimburse at their rates, and will only reimburse labor at $45 an hour. This turns my $500 deductible into a $1000 deductible. I appealed the decision up the chain with no luck.
I have been a good customer with Geico, and have five policies with them. I will move them all.
Suggestion to others: check with your Service Center to get the names of the body shops in your area who they authorized to do Tesla repairs. Ask them to recommend an insurance company [mine recommends ACE or Chubb]. Make certain your insurer will allow you to use those body shops. Most insurance companies have an existing list of authorized repair centers.
For Tesla, "Aauthorized" means that the technicians in the shop have been to Tesla and have received specific training on repairing a Tesla and dealing with electronics involved, such as in the bumpers for cars with the tech package. They will have a big certificate on the wall from Tesla so stating. Whether or not this really makes them more able to competently repair this car than technicians who have not been so trained, I cannot really say. What I can say is that it gives me comfort. I like to choose my own doctor. I don't want my insurance company choosing my doctor.
I am pretty sure that all states allow the consumer to use whatever repair shop he wants to repair his car. However, this does not require the ins co to pay whatever the shop wants to charge. If it did, what would keep the shop from charging $1000 an hour? As I'm sure you all know, when you have a claim, the insurance company sends out an adjuster who frequently writes a check on the spot. You can then go wherever you want for the repair.
I am not saying that you should not use GEICO. When I am suggesting is that if it is important to you that your car be repaired by people recommended and trained by Tesla you make certain that your insurance company will pay those rates. That is all I am saying. If you do not care who repairs your Tesla, then you can use any insurance company that will underwrite the car and go to the shop whose rates they will pay or be willing to absorb the difference.
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